Research on Visualisation

Really happy with the discussion about visualization together with Anette Hallin from Åbo Akademi and Bronte van der Hoorn from the University of Southern Queensland. Bronte researches ‘projects and visualisation’ and that made for a fruitful meeting, since we in Wenell are true believers in simple visualisation techniques that convey the full picture. Especially where the complexity increases.

One conclusion from our discussion, is that when you replace paper and post-its with digital boards you might lose the most important part, the meeting of minds and the dialogue next to the board. Another thing is that with paper, post-its and pen marks you get a more unfinished work feeling where a digital version can look “ready” and more “true” making it more into a fact, rather than supporting work in progress.

An interesting observation all three of us had was that the more digital organisations we connect with, the more physical development tools for visualisation they use. Bronte had an example of an organisation using the Gira tool that has built in Kanban boards where the development team still used paper and post-its because it better supports the work.

One area that we believe has not gotten enough attention, is how we work with dependencies in visualisation. In agile development the product owner prioritises the backlog. For a major development work the key question is according to what point of reference. The Scaled Agile Framework, SAFE, uses the PI planning events to sort out the major objectives and dependencies of the next program increment involving all the agile teams that are involved in a release train. For this they use good physical visualisation techniques. To be able to do this you need an understanding of the whole picture. You need some kind of map of the overall that is not activity based, to use in your prioritization of the coming work weeks/months. At Ericsson they use functional- and project anatomies and other clients use integration maps. What do you use? And how this can be visualised for common understanding?

We do hope to be a part of further discussions and research on this topic.

Mats Ragnarsson, Wenell Management AB

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